5G: China wants Portugal to adopt “rational” and “autonomous” policies after its decision

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China said today that it expects Portugal to adopt “rational” and “autonomous” policies, after a Portuguese government advisory body decided to de facto exclude Chinese companies from the development of fifth-generation (5G) networks.

“We hope that the Portuguese side will make rational policy choices autonomously and adhere to the creation of an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to the Lusa news agency in Beijing.

Chinese diplomacy believes that “building walls and barriers” and “severing ties” only “harms the most vulnerable”.

“Mutually beneficial cooperation is the only way forward”, he stressed.

Last month, the Security Evaluation Committee, which reports to Portugal’s Higher Council for Cyberspace Security, published a deliberation on the “high risk” to the security of 5G networks and services posed by the use of equipment from suppliers who, among other criteria, are not members of the European Union, NATO or the OECD, and whose “legal system in the country in which they are domiciled allows the government to exercise control, interference or pressure over their activities in third countries”.

The deliberation does not name specific companies or countries, but it comes after years of pressure from Washington on allied countries to exclude Chinese technology group Huawei from telecommunications infrastructures.

The US cites China’s National Intelligence Law, which states that “all organizations and citizens must support, assist and cooperate with the state in national intelligence matters”.

The company categorically denied these accusations and reiterated that Chinese law does not require Huawei to install hidden mechanisms in networks or equipment that allow unauthorized access to data and information.

Other countries, including the UK, Australia and Sweden, have already banned Huawei from participating in the development of their 5G networks.

In a statement sent to Lusa, the Chinese government said it opposed the “politicization” of technological issues, the “abuse of state power” and the “violation of international trade rules” and “market economy principles”.

Flag of China on CPU operating chipset computer electronic circuit board
Flag of China on CPU operating chipset computer electronic circuit board

“China is opposed to the formulation of discriminatory and exclusive policies and regulations, and opposes the removal and imposition of restrictions on foreign enterprises”, reads the same note.

“We expect the Portuguese side to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and adopt practical measures to attract foreign investment and expand cooperation opportunities,” it added.

Fifth-generation networks, the Internet of the future, are at the root of many technological advances, including autonomous driving and smart factories.

Portugal moves closer to prohibiting Chinese 5G suppliers

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